Pittsburgh Update

Pittsburgh Update publishes weekly summaries of recent developments in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion that affect or could affect Pittsburgh Episcopalians. Emphasis is on reporting, not interpretation. This is a service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. This site is in no way affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh or the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice          

A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Monday, November 1, 2021

Week Ending 11/01/21

Oklahoma Parish Provides Home for Ashes of the Unclaimed

When the priest at All Saints Episcopal Church in McAlester, Oklahoma discovered that there were a number of unclaimed cremated remains in storage at a local funeral parlor, she  took action.  On All Souls day, the Rev. Janie Koch will bless 23 boxes of remains, some identified and with pictures, others unnamed, and ranging from the cremains of an unidentified baby to one box with the remains of three people. They will then find a home in the parish columbarium.  The parish has long provided sack lunches for the homeless and has served as a warming station, so this seemed an appropriate extension of their ministry.

Continuing Stories

Voices Raised Against Ghana's Anti-LGBTQ Law

Since the Update's posting last week about the Anglican bishops of Ghana's support for drastic legislation making it a crime to in any way identify or offer support for LGBTQ people, some voices have been raised within the Anglican Communion, criticizing the action of the bishops.  The anti-gay group within the Anglican Communion made frequent use of the negative parts of the Lambeth Council 1998 resolution on LGBTQA people,  treating it as though it were legislation, as the Churches in the U.S. and Canada, and then other Anglican provinces moved to welcome LGBTQA people and open all rites and positions to them.  Now those speaking out against the bishop's endorsement of the proposed legislation are using that same resolution's positive statements as a means of chastising the bishops.  Those speaking out have included the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Church of England bishops in Portsmouth (which has a longstanding relationship with dioceses in Ghana, the bishops of Virginia (again a diocese with special ties to a diocese in Ghana, and the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church.

Religious Leaders File Amica Brief in Gun Control Challenge

The Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies are the first two officials named in a friend of court brief submitted by leaders of a number of faiths. The brief supports the enforcement of a 108 year-old New York statute placing limitations on who may be granted a license for concealed carry of a gun.  The law is being challenged by two members of a gun club who were denied permits.  The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on November 3rd on the case.  Others supporting the suit include the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the United Church of Christ, several major Jewish organizations, and the Church of the Brethren.  An Appendix (not included with the copy of the filing linked in the Episcopal News Service release) lists more than 400 religious leaders, including Episcopal Bishops and clergy, and clergy from a number of denominations not included in the heading of the Brief.  The brief argues that churches have a first amendment right to meet in security and peace and in spaces free from all guns.   The Episcopal Church, and the group Bishops Against Gun Violence have been the subject of a number of Update posts, the most recent of which is here.

More on the Fort Worth Parish Bankruptcy Filing

The Episcopal News Service has now published an article on the bankruptcy filing by the Corporation of All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Worth.  It was not available when last week's Update was published.  The article provides more detail on the property at risk, which includes both liquid assets and real estate.  It also provides more information on the parish.  

Update on the Burying of Canonical Amendments in Albany

Last week, the Albany Diocesan Convention used a parliamentary maneuver to prevent voting on three resolutions designed to bring the diocese's canons into compliance with the canons of The Episcopal Church and resolutions of General Convention. The TEC's position allows ordination of LGBTQ people and requires that every diocese provide access to marriage rites for same sex couples.  Albany's canons directly contradict these positions.  On Monday, news stories had not started to appear about the debate over a motion preventing the resolutions from being discussed or voted on.  Since then a detailed news story on this convention "inaction" has appeared in a local paper.  Since the major argument was that substantive matters should not be voted on in a Zoom meeting, some supporters of the resolutions made an attempt to adjourn the convention and meet in person.   For more on this, see the Times-Union story here.

Oregon City Takes Action Against Church Feeding the Homeless 

In June,  Update carried a story about push-back that St. Timothy's Parish was getting for its regular feeding of the homeless. The parish increased its feeding ministry during the pandemic as other churches cut back.  Basically neighbors were complaining that by supplying the homeless with food, the parish was creating an attractive nuisance, and raised concerns about drug use.  Now the city of Brookings has passed an ordinance allowing churches to only offer free food twice a week.  St. Timothy's was feeding people 4-6 days a week.  The church has said it will continue to feed people in defiance of the ordinance and it is preparing to sue the city claiming a first amendment right to feed the poor.